Net income of the farms with diverse cropping systems was 135 percent higher than monocultures

The state of Uttaranchal in the Himalayas has a long heritage of subsistence economy with agriculture as the core component involving over 80 percent of its population. A majority of the farmers are marginal and possess less than 1ha of agricultural land. The study A new Paradigm for Food Security and Food Safety. Biodiversity based organic farming, carried out by the Indian organisation Navdanya found that the traditional mixed farming systems had high levels of biodiversity that invariably resulted in higher economic returns and more long-term sustainability. It also found that family farmers in this area regularly achieved higher and more dependable production from their land than large farms practicing monoculture in similar environments. The total yield per hectare for farms with diverse cropping systems, in this case four different crops, was about 6 percent higher than for those with only one crop. In addition, the market price of the crops from the diverse farms was double that of the monocropped produce, mainly because smallholders tend to grow traditional crops that have more value to local consumers than the modern varieties grown in the monocropping schemes. In addition, the monocropping farms had higher production costs because the crops required chemical fertilizer and pesticides. In total, the net income of the farms with diverse cropping systems was 135 percent higher than for the farms with only one crop. More information can be found at cited in A Viable Food Future, Editor: Aksel Nærstad, Senior Policy Adviser in Utviklingsfondet /the Development Fund (Norway) The Development Fund /Utviklingsfondet Oslo Norway. 2010,

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